What do Prototypes Prototype?

Game: Mafia mod where very round within the game imposes a new rule on the game play that somehow restricts players ability to communicate.

Do the added restrictions introduce interesting new game dynamics? / What restrictions are more fun?

It’s important to see how this mod will change (and perhaps enhance) the current gameplay. Will certain restrictions inspire new kinds of fun — e.g., how might this change the sensational experience of the mafia and who might this appeal to?

It would be interesting to run multiple casual iterations of the game, changing which restrictions are implemented each time and seeing the changes that these iterations spark.

It’s sort of like appealing to the “aesthetics” type of fun in that it introduces a new “twist” to the pattern that folks are familiar with in Mafia/werewolf. I think people will find new crafty ways of reasoning and ways of communicating about who the impostor might be under whatever imposed restrictions.


Does this provide an advantage to the spy?

I wonder if the imposition of new rules/restrictions might be introducing new patterns/complications too frequently that the game becomes imbalanced or un-fun / inaccessible to most participants, and no one wants that. Prototyping this would look like running the game with a variety of restrictions to see which ones are sticky and which ones are prohibitive. I imagine restrictions around the types of communication (e.g., not being able to speak, having to draw things out, not being able to say certain words) might enhance the fun because they are familiar in the context of other games.


Is it more fun to introduce the same restrictions every game, or to introduce totally random restrictions that might not be the same across game to game?


It’s important to determine how much freedom to give the game masters. Do random restrictions across games make the game more chaotic and/or fun and/or spontaneous? On the other hand, does it lead to more unpredictable “buy in” and/or outcomes? It would be interesting to run multiple groups playing multiple games: one with the same new restrictions every round and one with totally random new restrictions. I imagine new restrictions might help the game feel fresher with each round, however constantly generating new restrictions might become hard.

When will the participants become aware of what restriction is up next?

It’s important to determine how new rules might change the game dynamics, the decisions people make and how this impacts fun. To prototype, we would run multiple games, one where the rules are all communicated at the beginning, one where a new surprise rule was introduced at the start of every round, and one where only the next round’s rule was forecasted. I imagine the iteration where the new rule is communicated at the beginning of each round would result in the most chaotic gameplay.

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